Riding My Bicycle

A Zen Teacher saw five of his students return from the market, riding their bicycles. When they had dismounted, the teacher asked the students, “Why are you riding your bicycles?”

The first student replied, “The bicycle is carrying this sack of potatoes. I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back!” The teacher praised the student, saying, “You are a smart boy. When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over, as I do.”

The second student replied, “I love to watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path.” The teacher commended the student, “Your eyes are open and you see the world.”

The third student replied, “When I ride my bicycle, I am content to chant, nam myoho renge kyo.” The teacher gave praise to the third student, “Your mind will roll with the ease of a newly trued wheel.”

The fourth student answered, “Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with all beings.” The teacher was pleased and said, “You are riding on the golden path of non-harming.”

The fifth student replied, “I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle.” The teacher went and sat at the feet of the fifth student, and said, “I am your disciple.”

Why are you writing the document in front of you? The answers, like the students, could be because there is a deadline, because your manager wanted you to write it, because your mind is at ease when you are writing, because you are employed and you need to complete this document so as to retain your employment etc.

The true technical writer writes because s/he wants to write. There is no deadline, no employment, no mind being at ease, or no manager. Just you and the document. And that should be the only reason. Nothing else. It is very difficult to write with such objectivity or dispassionate detachment. But, that is what we need to strive towards.